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'Our love for each other, that’s Newnan strong' | Family of seven can soon call their house home again

After a year of being homeless, the Thompson family is getting their house restored piece by piece thanks to the community.

NEWNAN, Ga. — It's been one year since a devastating tornado tore through Newnan; and after 12 months of repairs, only now have some families returned to their homes.

Newnan resident and mother of five Ashley Thompson is a part of one of those families. She, her husband, alongside their young children sheltered from an EF-4 tornado in their basement on March 25, 2021.

“I remember the overwhelming smell of trees," Thompson recalls.

Even though it’s been a year since Thompson and her family lived through that tornado that ripped through the Newnan community, she says it feels like it has been much longer.

“For the most part, this has been the longest year of our life. We have been really beat up this year," said Thompson.

The Thompsons had to move out of their house due to the damage following the tornado, and have been staying with friends and family for a year. But the family of seven may soon be able to call their house a home again thanks to the Coweta Community Foundation.

“When the tornado came through, we were asked to assist with all of the donations coming in and just distribute them back out to the community," explains Executive Director at the Coweta Community Foundation, Kristin Webb.

The non-profit has been helping families like the Thompson rebuild their homes and put their lives back together, handing out over $700,000 and getting 175 families back into their homes.

RELATED: 1 year after EF-4 tornado, Coweta County community says they're still recovering

“I think that’s the most rewarding part of my job and everyone who works at the foundation is getting to see people go back home. It’s been a long, long year – so just getting to help with that process," Webb said.

As each piece comes back together for the Thompsons, Ashley says her family is just looking forward to the small things.

"I miss cooking," she said. "I haven't been able to make my family a meal in our kitchen in a really long time."

The mother and wife added that they're most looking forward to rest. 

"Having two homes is exhausting," Thompson said.

The Newnan resident says her biggest takeaway from this last year is seeing how resilient Newnan truly is.

“Just to see people pulling wagons and carrying chain saws and people I’ve never seen in my life just pouring in to help. It was unbelievable," she said. "That’s Newnan, our love for each other -- that’s Newnan strong."

Organizers with the foundation said after receiving an estimated timeline from FEMA, they expect it to take another two years before the community returns to how it once looked. Those interested in donating toward rebuilding efforts can click here.


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